Whatever I'm Thinking

The First Day of Spring in La Crosse, Wisconsin

March 31, 2023
(Photos and memories from March 21, 2009)

Riverside Park in La Crosse, Wisconsin, on the first day of Spring, 2009

Winters are long and harsh in Wisconsin; it’s a big deal when Spring finally arrives. The city of La Crosse (population about 50,000) is a major port on the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin.

I was in La Crosse on Saturday, March 21, 2009. Riverside Park was full of folks in short sleeves enjoying the weather.  Short sleeves in March!! Some folks were feeding sea birds.  I wonder how seabirds got this far inland.  Did they follow the river all the way north from New Orleans? 

Not only were sea birds fishing the un-frozen river, so were local fishermen in boats.

This little city was named for the game of lacrosse, a ball and stick game the Indians played here, which developed into the modern team sport of lacrosse.  In fact, the whole townsite was once used by the Winnebagoes, Sauk, Chippewa, and others as a neutral site for rest and athletic games – a sort of Midwestern Olympics.

Statue of early lacrosse players in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Statue along the riverbank in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
This historical sign provides a good history of the town of La Crosse.
Statue of an eagle on the riverbank of La Crosse. The area is known for its bald eagles that fish the Mississippi.
The location of La Crosse County within the state of Wisconsin.

I like La Crosse.  Most of the buildings downtown date from its days as a bustling river port in the 1800s.  Mississippi River boats stopped here on their way up and down the river, mostly hauling logs and wood products. Settlers heading west boarded ferries here to cross the river toward places west of the Mississippi, such as Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Walking through town was fun; all was vibrant and busy. Downtown businesses were primarily bars and a few restaurants.  One ice cream shop on Pearl Street, the Pearl Ice Cream Parlor, had customers waiting for service in a line stretching from the counter to the street.

The Pearl Ice Cream Parlor was selling a lot of ice cream on the first day of Spring in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

I saw some other interesting things downtown. A Ten Commandments statue has been placed in a park near the river (it had probably been moved there from the courthouse grounds). Surrounded by two iron grate fences, the public is warned: “This property is not owned or maintained by the City of La Crosse, nor does the city endorse the religious expressions thereon.” Wouldn’t it be enough to just say the religious statue is not on government property?

Ten Commandments statue in a private park.

Here’s the new La Crosse County Courthouse in La Crosse. The county has a population of about 100,000 total, and half that number lives in the city of La Crosse.

The new La Crosse County Courthouse in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Photo taken in 2009 as it was being built.

Here’s one last photo of the unfrozen Mississippi River at La Crosse. Happy Spring!

The Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wisconsin, looking north.

A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.

All photos were taken by the author on March 21, 2009.

My lifetime hobby is traveling to all of America’s county courthouses, and each month I post about a visit to a scenic or interesting county seat. It’s a hobby, and donations are greatly appreciated to help cover my costs.


Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Single Post Navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: